1939 Tour de France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1939 Tour de France
Tour de France 1939.png
Route of the 1939 Tour de France
Followed counterclockwise, starting in Paris
Race details
Dates 10–30 July 1939
Stages 18 (28 including split stages)
Distance 4,224 km (2,625 mi)
Winning time 132h 03' 17"
Winner  Sylvère Maes (Belgium) (Belgium)
Second  René Vietto (France) (France)
Third  Lucien Vlaemynck (Belgium) (Belgium B)

Mountains  Sylvère Maes (Belgium) (Belgium)
Team Belgium B

The 1939 Tour de France was the 33rd Tour de France, taking place from 10 to 30 July 1939. The total distance was 4,224 km and the average speed of the riders was 31.986 km/h.[1]

Taking place on the eve of World War II, there was already much animosity in Europe. Italy, Germany and Spain all declined to send teams to the race, so the 1938 Italian champion Gino Bartali would not be defending his title.[2] To fill out the ranks, Belgium sent two teams, and France had five teams. This would be the final Tour for eight years, until 1947.

Between the second and the seventh stage, the last rider in the general classification was eliminated.[3]

The race was won by Belgian Sylvère Maes who also won the mountains classification.

Changes from the 1938 Tour de France[edit]

For the first time, a mountain time trial was scheduled: stage 16B.[4] A rule was added to make it more difficult to finish the race: from the second stage to the seventh stage, the last rider in the classification was to be removed from the race.[3]

The nutrition of the cyclists became more professional: cyclists were reporting that the use of vitamins increased their performance.[5]


For a more comprehensive list, see List of teams and cyclists in the 1939 Tour de France.

Because Italy, Germany and Spain did not send teams,[6] the Tour organisation were short on participating cyclists. To solve this, they allowed Belgium to send two teams, and France to send four additional regional teams.[7]

The French cyclists had been successful in the 1930s, but their Tour winners were absent in 1939: 1930 and 1932 winner André Leducq had retired in 1938, as had 1931 and 1934 winner Antonin Magne; 1933 winner Georges Speicher did not ride, and 1937 winner Roger Lapébie was injured. This all made the Belgian team favourite.[4]

Race details[edit]

In the first stage, regional Amedée Fournier won the sprint of a group of nine cyclists, and was the first cyclist in 1939 to wear the yellow jersey. In the next stage, Romain Maes, who had finished in the same group as Fournier, won the time trial, and captured the lead. He lost it in the second part of that stage, when a group got away.[4] Three regional riders were now on top of the general classification, led by Jean Fontenay.

René Vietto, leader of the regional South-East team, was in second place. In the fourth stage, Vietto got into the winning break, and took over the lead, closesly followed by Mathias Clemens on six seconds.[4]

In the ninth stage, the single Pyrénées stage of 1939, Edward Vissers attacked instead of helping his team leader Sylvère Maes. Vissers won the stage, but Vietto was able to stay with Maes. Maes climbed to the second place in the general classification, three minutes behind Vietto.[4]

Maes was able to win back a little time, and just before the Alps were climbed from stage 15 on, Vietto was still leading, with Maes still in second place, two minutes behind. Sylvère Maes attacked on that stage, and Vietto was not able to follow. Vietto finished 17 minutes behind Maes, and lost the lead. The next stage was split in three split stages. In the first part, Vietto was able to stay close to Maes, but in the second part, the individual mountain time trial, Maes won ten minutes on Vietto. Maes was now leading with a margin of 27 minutes, and the victory seemed secure.[4]

In the last stages, Maes was able to extend his lead with a few more minutes. Maes became the winner, with a margin of more than half an hour.


Stage results[3][8]
Stage Date[9] Route Length[Stage notes 1] Winner
1 10 July Paris – Caen Plain stage 215 km (134 mi)  Amédée Fournier (FRA)
2A 11 July Caen – Vire Individual time trial 64 km (40 mi)  Romain Maes (BEL)
2B Vire – Rennes Plain stage 119 km (74 mi)  Éloi Tassin (FRA)
3 12 July Rennes – Brest Plain stage 244 km (152 mi)  Pierre Cloarec (FRA)
4 13 July Brest – Lorient Plain stage 174 km (108 mi)  Raymond Louviot (FRA)
5 14 July Lorient – Nantes Plain stage 207 km (129 mi)  Amédée Fournier (FRA)
6A 15 July Nantes – La Rochelle Plain stage 144 km (89 mi)  Lucien Storme (BEL)
6B La Rochelle – Royan Plain stage 107 km (66 mi)  Edmond Pagès (FRA)
7 17 July Royan – Bordeaux Plain stage 198 km (123 mi)  Raymond Passat (FRA)
8A 18 July Bordeaux – Salies-de-Béarn Plain stage 210 km (130 mi)  Marcel Kint (BEL)
8B Salies-de-Béarn – Pau Individual time trial 69 km (43 mi)  Karl Litschi (SUI)
9 19 July Pau – Toulouse Stage with mountain(s) 311 km (193 mi)  Edward Vissers (BEL)
10A 21 July Toulouse – Narbonne Plain stage 149 km (93 mi)  Pierre Jaminet (FRA)
10B Narbonne – Béziers Individual time trial 27 km (17 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
10C Béziers – Montpellier Plain stage 70 km (43 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
11 22 July Montpellier – Marseille Plain stage 212 km (132 mi)  Fabien Galateau (FRA)
12A 23 July Marseille – Saint-Raphaël Plain stage 157 km (98 mi)  François Neuens (LUX)
12B Saint-Raphaël – Monaco Plain stage 122 km (76 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
13 24 July Monaco – Monaco Stage with mountain(s) 101 km (63 mi)  Pierre Gallien (FRA)
14 25 July Monaco – Digne Plain stage 175 km (109 mi)  Pierre Cloarec (FRA)
15 26 July Digne – Briançon Stage with mountain(s) 219 km (136 mi)  Sylvère Maes (BEL)
16A 27 July Briançon – Briançon Stage with mountain(s) 126 km (78 mi)  Pierre Jaminet (FRA)
16B Bonneval – Bourg-Saint-Maurice Individual time trial Stage with mountain(s) 64 km (40 mi)  Sylvère Maes (BEL)
16C Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Annecy Plain stage 104 km (65 mi)  Antoon van Schendel (NED)
17A 29 July Annecy – Dôle Stage with mountain(s) 226 km (140 mi)  François Neuens (LUX)
17B Dôle – Dijon Individual time trial 59 km (37 mi)  Maurice Archambaud (FRA)
18A 30 July Dijon – Troyes Plain stage 151 km (94 mi)  René Le Grevès (FRA)
18B Troyes – Paris Plain stage 201 km (125 mi)  Marcel Kint (BEL)
  1. ^ The icons shown here indicate whether the stage was run as a time trial, the stage was flat or the stage included mountains for the mountains classification. Stage 16B was a time trial that included a mountain.

Classification leadership[edit]

Stage General classification
Jersey yellow.svg
Mountains classification Team classification
1  Amédée Fournier (FRA) no award  Belgium A
2a  Romain Maes (BEL)
2b  Jean Fontenay (FRA)  France-West
4  René Vietto (FRA)
7  Belgium B
9  Edward Vissers (BEL)
15  Sylvère Maes (BEL)
16b  Sylvère Maes (BEL)
Final  Sylvère Maes (BEL)  Sylvère Maes (BEL)  Belgium B


Final general classification[edit]

The time that each cyclist required to finish each stage was recorded, and these times were added together for the general classification. If a cyclist had received a time bonus, it was subtracted from this total; all time penalties were added to this total. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey. Of the 79 cyclists that started the race, 49 finished.

Final general classification (1–10)[3][10][7]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgium 132h 03' 17"
2  René Vietto (FRA) South-East +30' 38"
3  Lucien Vlaemynck (BEL) Belgium B +32' 08"
4  Mathias Clemens (LUX) Luxembourg +36' 09"
5  Edward Vissers (BEL) Belgium +38' 05"
6  Sylvain Marcaillou (FRA) France +45' 16"
7  Albertin Disseaux (BEL) Belgium B +46' 54"
8  Jan Lambrichs (NED) Netherlands +48' 01"
9  Albert Ritserveldt (BEL) Belgium B +48' 27"
10  Cyriel Vanoverberghe (BEL) Belgium B +49' 44"

Final team classification[edit]

The team classification was calculated in 1939 by adding up the times of the best three cyclists of a team; the team with the least time was the winner. In 1939, there were ten teams of eight cyclists. There were the national teams of Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and France. Belgium also sent a second team, "Belgium B". Finally, there were four regional French teams: North-East, West, South-West and South-East.[3] The South-West team was registered with eight cyclist, but only seven cyclists started the race. Only two of the South-West cyclists finished the race, so they were not in the team classification.

Team classification (1–9)[10][7]
Rank Team Time
1  Belgium B 398h 17' 20"
2  France +35' 47"
3  Belgium +36' 18"
4  Luxembourg +1h 12' 35"
5  France North-East +1h 23' 20"
6  France South-East +1h 38' 09"
7  Netherlands +2h 06' 07"
8  France West +5h 50' 37"
9   Switzerland +6h 45' 27"

Mountains classification[edit]

For the mountains classification, 10 mountains were selected by the Tour organisation.[3]

Mountains in the 1939 mountains classification[3]
Stage Name Height Mountain range[11] Winner
9 Aubisque 1,709 metres (5,607 ft) Pyrénées Edward Vissers
9 Tourmalet 2,115 metres (6,939 ft) Pyrénées Edward Vissers
9 Aspin 1,489 metres (4,885 ft) Pyrénées Edward Vissers
13 Braus 1,002 metres (3,287 ft) Alps-Maritimes Sylvère Maes
15 Allos 2,250 metres (7,380 ft) Alps Edward Vissers
15 Vars 2,110 metres (6,920 ft) Alps Edward Vissers
15 Izoard 2,361 metres (7,746 ft) Alps Sylvère Maes
16A Galibier 2,556 metres (8,386 ft) Alps Dante Gianello
16B Iseran 2,770 metres (9,090 ft) Alps Sylvère Maes
17A Faucille 1,320 metres (4,330 ft) Alps Sylvère Maes

The mountains classification in 1939 was won by Sylvère Maes. The first cyclist to reach the top received 10 points, the second cyclist 9 points, and so on until the tenth cyclist who received 1 point.

Mountain classification (1–5)[3][12]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Sylvère Maes (BEL) Belgium 86
2  Edward Vissers (BEL) Belgium 84
3  Albert Ritseveldt (BEL) Belgium B 71
4  Dante Gianello (FRA) France 61
5  René Vietto (FRA) South-East 22


Although he did not win the race, René Vietto became a popular cyclist. He was the most popular runner-up in France until Raymond Poulidor.[7]

The sales of the organising newspaper l'Auto had dropped to 164000, and the newspaper was sold to Raymond Patenôtre.[13] A few months after Germany had conquered France in the Second World War, Patenôtre sold l'Auto to the Germans.[14]

Directly after the Tour, the organisation announced the 1940 Tour de France would be run in 20 stages and five rest days.[15] But the Second World War made it impossible to hold a Tour de France in the next years, although some replacing races were held. Only in 1947 would the Tour be held again, and Vietto would again play an important role then, holding the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification for 15 of the 21 stages.[16]

The victory of Maes would be the last Belgian Tour victory for 30 years, until Eddy Merckx won the 1969 Tour de France.[17]


  1. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, Part 6" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Evanno, Yves-Marie (2013). "Du cliquetis des pédales au bruit des bottes : un été cycliste perturbé en Bretagne (juillet-septembre 1939)" (PDF) (in French). En Envor, revue d'histoire contemporaine en Bretagne. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "33ème Tour de France 1939" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2006). The Story of the Tour De France. dog ear publishing. pp. 144–147. ISBN 978-1-59858-180-5. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Applegate, Elizabeth A.; Grivetti, Louis E. (1997). "Search for the Competitive Edge: A History of Dietary Fads and Supplements". The Journal of Nutrition. 127 (5): 869S–873S. PMID 9164254. 
  6. ^ Bowen, Wayne H (2006). Spain during World War II. University of Missouri Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-8262-1658-7. 
  7. ^ a b c d James, Tom (15 August 2003). "1939: "Le Roi René" and the regionals". VeloArchive. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  9. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, part 3" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "De Ronde van Frankrijk – Sylver Maes winnaar" (in Dutch). Leeuwarder Courant. 31 July 1939. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, part 8" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Van Lonkhuyzen, Michiel. "Tour-Giro-Vuelta". Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  13. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2008). The Tour de France: A Cultural History (2 ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-25630-1. 
  14. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2006). The Tour de France: A Cultural History (1 ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24760-4. 
  15. ^ "Novita per l'edizione 1940". Il littoriale (in Italian). Biblioteca digitale. 31 July 1939. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  16. ^ James, Tom (15 August 2003). "1947: Robic snatches it at the death". VeloArchive. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  17. ^ "21 juli 1969. Eddy Merckx wint zijn eerste Tour" (in Dutch). De Standaard. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.